“Where Do We Go From Here?”


A few years ago I wrote a piece entitled “Maybe We Study War More Often” that still remains as the most commented piece on my blog. A few years after I posted it I found out that I was arguing against a bumper sticker and I am still not sure what that infers. But I do know this today, we definitely need to study war more often, if for no other reason than it will help us to know what to do at times like these.

We have failed to understand the lament of Robert E. Lee after the battle of Fredericksburg, “It is well that war is so terrible, lest we grow fond of it.”

Now, I do not consider myself a pacifist or a conscientous objector. But I am adamantly opposed to war, if for no other reason than I have read the words of my grandfather’s diary from World War I and can sense how he felt, know some of the comments my father made about the war in the Pacific and what might have happened, and grew up in the shadow of B-52 bombers on the ready ramp and Titan II missiles ready to roar out of their holes in the ground during the 1950s and 1969s.

But there is something about this culture of ours that seems to feast on war, to send our youth off to foreign lands to be killed, wounded, maimed, and forgotten. And now we are on the verge of declaring war on Syria, if not by words, then by our actions. And it seems like almost everyone, their neighbors, and their friends want this war.

But are we prepared for what will happen? Are we totally prepared to take any sort of offensive action and not expect some sort of response somewhere in this world? Our leaders may say that we are taking out the Syrians’ ability to use chemical weapons but that doesn’t mean that they won’t respond by some other means. You mean to tell me that we know where all the nuclear weapons ever manufactured are and who has them? You mean to tell me that there won’t be some sort of response?

I was only 6 when Freedom Fighters in Hungary sought to overcome the communist dictatorship that ruled their country. It is my undestanding that this country refused to act in aid to those individuals, despite our own anti-communism stance, because we were afraid that the Soviet Union might just possibly use nuclear weapons.

All you have to do is go back and look at either “Thirteen Days” or “The Missiles of October, part 1″ and “The Missiles of October, part 2”; you decide if the world would still be here today if we had taken out the Russian missiles in Cuba as the military had suggested.

We keep thinking we are pushing the envelope but we may very well be pushing a balloon and sooner or later that balloon will burst. Then what will we do?

And you know something else, whatever we do, no matter how good our intentions are, we will be at least two years late in dealing with this problem. We should have done something two years ago before the civil war in Syria got to the point it is at today.

Yes, I know that it is a civil war but it was started in the fires of the Arab Spring that brought democracy to Tunisia and Egypt. We should have provided assistance then; instead we let the people of Syria suffer while their brothers and sisters fight for their freedom.

I am not arguing for intervention then nor now but I am saying that we should have been doing things that would have kept this day from arriving.

And if we don’t radically change our thinking now, we might find that there will never be any chance to do anything at all.

Let’s face it; we spend more money on war and destruction than we do on peace and construction. And as long as we do that, we will never be in a position where we can offer a path to peace.

I don’t want this country to go to war, be it deemed legal or not. But if we do go to war, then we had better be prepared for the consequences of this act. I am afraid that the dogs of war are barking so loud that one cannot hear the soft cooing of the doves of peace.

And while we prepare to go to war, we must also prepare to place a world of peace in its place. We cannot afford to keep going to war every few years just to satisfy our urge to settle differences violently. Each time we do this, we diminish the chance for true and lasting peace.

So I ask, “where do we go from here?”

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